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Messages - Recusant

There are mountain ranges that are mostly composed of calcium, which is a major component of bones so yeah, makes sense.  :]
Science / Male Hormones and Religiosity
It appears that men with higher levels of "androgens" are less likely to be religious.

"Older men with higher levels of sex hormones could be less religious, study suggests" | ScienceDaily

The level of sex hormones such as testosterone in a man's body could influence his religiosity. A new study by Aniruddha Das of McGill University in Canada in Springer's journal Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology now adds to the growing body of evidence that religiosity is not only influenced by upbringing or psychological makeup, but physiological factors could also play a role.

[. . .]

From the analysis of over 1000 men, Das found that men with higher levels of the sex hormones testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in their bodies had weaker religious ties.

"Religion influences a range of cultural and political patterns at the population level. Results from the current study indicate the latter may also have hormonal roots," says Das. "There is therefore a need for conceptual models that can accommodate the dynamic interplay of psychosocial and neuroendocrine factors in shaping a person's life cycle."

[Continues . . .]

From the "Results" section of the abstract; full paper available free here:

Higher baseline levels of both testosterone and DHEA prospectively predicted religious ties, whether measured through attendance at services or network connections to clergy. Moreover, contrary to arguments of sociocultural modulation of androgens, the pattern of associations was most consistent with hormonal causation of religious connections. Results were robust to a range of time invariant and time varying confounders, including demographics, hormone supplements, and physical health.
A comprehensive take-down of the "Halp! We're being silenced and oppressed" narrative pushed by various conservative manque intellectuals.

"Pretty Loud for Being so Silenced" | Current Affairs

Irony can be a difficult concept to grasp, but some hypothetical examples can illustrate it clearly. It would be ironic, for instance, if people who claimed their free speech was being trampled on were actually being heard more than anybody else. It would be ironic if television hosts and podcasters who believe in "engaging in debate with the other side" never actually engaged in any debate with the other side. And it would be ironic if a journalist who believes in "facts" and "listening to critics" ignored facts and never listened to critics.

Of course, you might think that ironies this obvious rarely occur in the real world. Surely life is much more subtle. But if you assume this, you haven't yet read Bari Weiss' New York Times op-ed/fawning profile, "Meet the Renegades of the Intellectual Dark Web." Weiss uses the nation's paper of record to introduce audiences to a group of people whose voices are supposedly being kept out of mainstream institutions, but who for some reason I seem to hear about all the damn time.

The "intellectual dark web" is neither on the dark web nor comprised of intellectuals. It is a phrase coined by one of Peter Thiel's deputies to describe a group of people who share the following traits in common: (1) they are bitter about and feel persecuted by Leftist Social Justice Identity Politics, which they think is silencing important truths and (2) they inhabit the internet, disseminating their opinions through podcasts, YouTube, Patreon, etc. The group includes: Eric Weinstein, the aforementioned Thiel subordinate; vacuous charlatan Jordan Peterson; cool kids' philosopher Ben Shapiro; deferential interview host Dave Rubin; ex-neuroscientist Sam Harris; former Man Show host Joe Rogan; American Enterprise Institute scholar Christina Hoff Sommers; and former Evergreen State University professors Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying. Weiss says that together these people form:

...a collection of iconoclastic thinkers, academic renegades and media personalities who are having a rolling conversation--on podcasts, YouTube and Twitter, and in sold-out auditoriums--that sound unlike anything else happening, at least publicly, in the culture right now. Feeling largely locked out of legacy outlets, they are rapidly building their own mass media channels...

Weiss says they have three things in common:

[First,] they are willing to disagree ferociously, but talk civilly, about nearly every meaningful subject: religion, abortion, immigration, the nature of consciousness. Second, in an age in which popular feelings about the way things ought to be often override facts about the way things actually are, each is determined to resist parroting what's politically convenient. And third, some have paid for this commitment by being purged from institutions that have become increasingly hostile to unorthodox thought--and have found receptive audiences elsewhere.

Weiss says that "offline and in the real world, members of the I.D.W. are often found speaking to one another in packed venues around the globe," such as the O2 Arena, where they dare to say "That Which Cannot Be Said," offering "taboo" thoughts like "There are fundamental biological differences between men and women. Free speech is under siege. Identity politics is a toxic ideology that is tearing American society apart." (Gosh, perhaps it's just the fringe conservative circles I move in, but I seem to hear that stuff constantly!)

Well, are they right? Are they being "purged" as part of a "siege" on free speech by the illiberal left? It's interesting that Weiss chooses to use the formulation "feeling locked out of legacy outlets," since I seem to remember a great philosopher once saying that Facts Don't Care About Your Feelings. These people may feel as if they are persecuted renegades, suppressed at every turn by Postmodern Neo-Marxists. But there are a lot of facts to say otherwise.

[Continues . . .]

That isn't even the White House!

What are the odds on dishonest journalists like Klain posting the correct photo?

So where was the photo taken, and why did Ivanka Trump post it when referring to her meeting with military spouses?

Science / Seagoing Neandertals?
Intriguing idea, and not particularly outlandish.

"Neandertals, Stone Age people may have voyaged the Mediterranean" | Science

Odysseus, who voyaged across the wine-dark seas of the Mediterranean in Homer's epic, may have had some astonishingly ancient forerunners. A decade ago, when excavators claimed to have found stone tools on the Greek island of Crete dating back at least 130,000 years, other archaeologists were stunned--and skeptical. But since then, at that site and others, researchers have quietly built up a convincing case for Stone Age seafarers--and for the even more remarkable possibility that they were Neandertals, the extinct cousins of modern humans.

The finds strongly suggest that the urge to go to sea, and the cognitive and technological means to do so, predates modern humans, says Alan Simmons, an archaeologist at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas who gave an overview of recent finds at a meeting here last week of the Society for American Archaeology. "The orthodoxy until pretty recently was that you don't have seafarers until the early Bronze Age," adds archaeologist John Cherry of Brown University, an initial skeptic. "Now we are talking about seafaring Neandertals. It's a pretty stunning change."

[. . .]

[R]ecent evidence from the Mediterranean suggests purposeful navigation. Archaeologists had long noted ancient-looking stone tools on several Mediterranean islands including Crete, which has been an island for more than 5 million years, but they were dismissed as oddities.

Then in 2008 and 2009, Thomas Strasser of Providence College in Rhode Island co-led a Greek-U.S. team with archaeologist Curtis Runnels of Boston University and discovered hundreds of stone tools near the southern coastal village of Plakias. The picks, cleavers, scrapers, and bifaces were so plentiful that a one-off accidental stranding seems unlikely, Strasser says. The tools also offered a clue to the identity of the early seafarers: The artifacts resemble Acheulean tools developed more than a million years ago by H. erectus and used until about 130,000 years ago by Neandertals as well.

Strasser argued that the tools may represent a sea-borne migration of Neandertals from the Near East to Europe. The team used a variety of techniques to date the soil around the tools to at least 130,000 years old, but they could not pinpoint a more exact date. And the stratigraphy at the site is unclear, raising questions about whether the artifacts are as old as the soil they were embedded in. So other archaeologists were skeptical.

But the surprise discovery prompted researchers to scour the region for additional  sites, an effort that is now bearing fruit. Possible Neandertal artifacts have turned up on a number of islands, including at Stelida on the island of Naxos. Naxos sits 250 kilometers north of Crete in the Aegean Sea; even during glacial times, when sea levels were lower, it was likely accessible only by watercraft.

[Continues . . .]
There's a link in that thread to an examination of Kennedy's record on cannabis. He appears to be a thoroughgoing hardliner.

"Dems Pick Anti-Marijuana Kennedy For Trump State Of The Union Response" | Marijuana Moment

Some observers see the young Kennedy, 37, as a rising political star. But he is starkly out of step with his party -- and a majority of U.S. voters -- on a key issue now emerging at the forefront of mainstream American politics: Marijuana.

In 2015, Kennedy was one of just ten House Democrats to vote against a measure to protect medical cannabis patients and providers who are following state laws from being prosecuted by the federal government. He was one of just 24 Democrats to vote the same day against a broader measure blocking the Justice Department from interfering with all state marijuana laws, including those allowing recreational use.

[. . .]

Going further than just refusing to block federal anti-marijuana enforcement in legal states, Kennedy voted three times against amendments to increase military veterans' access to medical cannabis -- just one of five Democrats to oppose the measure in 2016. Fifty-seven Republicans voted for it that year.

Kennedy even opposed a very limited proposal to protect children who use non-psychoactive cannabidiol extracts to treat severe seizure disorders from being targeted by the DEA. That amendment was supported by 118 Republicans.

[Continues . . .]
Politics and Current Events / Re: Trumpocalypse
The Office of Management and Budget has evaluated the Trump/Republican binge of deregulation:

"Trump White House quietly issues report vindicating Obama regulations" | Vox

President Donald Trump's administration has been on a deregulatory bender, particularly when it comes to environmental regulations. As of January, the New York Times counted 67 environmental rules on the chopping block under Trump.

This is not one of Trump's idiosyncrasies, though. His administration is more ham-handed and flagrant about it, but the antipathy it expresses toward federal regulation falls firmly within the GOP mainstream. Republicans have been complaining about "burdensome" and "job-killing" regulations for so long that their opposition to any particular health, safety, or environmental regulation is now just taken for granted.

For instance, why would the Environmental Protection Agency close a program investigating the effects of toxins on children's health? Is there some evidence that the money is wasted or poorly spent? Why would the EPA allow more unregulated disposal of toxic coal ash? Don't people in coal regions deserve clean air and water? Is there any reason to think coal ash is currently well-regulated?

These questions barely come up anymore. Republicans oppose regulations because they are regulations; it's become reflexive, both for the party and for the media the covers them.

As it happens, though, we know something about the costs and benefits of federal regulations. In fact, Trump's own administration, specifically the (nonpartisan, at least for now) White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), just released its annual report on that very subject. (Hat tip to E&E.)

The report was released late on a Friday, with Congress out of session and multiple Trump scandals dominating the headlines. A cynical observer might conclude that the administration wanted the report to go unnoticed.

Why might that be? Well, in a nutshell, it shows that the GOP is wrong about regulations as a general matter and wrong about Obama's regulations specifically. Those regulations had benefits far in excess of their costs, and they had no discernible effect on jobs or economic growth.

[Continues . . .]
Politics and Current Events / Re: Trumpocalypse
Nunes, contending in a very strong field, shows he's still got what it takes to compete for the title of "biggest chowderhead in Congress."

"Stephen Colbert Escalates Feud With Devin Nunes, Barges Into His D.C. Office" | Daily Beast

On Friday's Late Show, Stephen Colbert traveled to Washington, D.C. to grill lawmakers about the seemingly endless investigation into the Trump campaign's possible collusion with Russia. While he was there, he released his very own redacted memo about Devin Nunes.

"You remember about a month or so ago when America had memo fever?" the host asked Monday night. "There was #ReleaseTheMemo, which was about a memo written by House Intelligence Committee Chair and youngest man at the senior's brunch, Devin Nunes."

While on Capitol Hill, Colbert tried to get Nunes' colleagues to the fill in the blank on his redacted memo with an insult about the divisive congressman, but neither Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff nor GOP Rep. Jeff Flake would take the bait.

"So as much fun as we had down there, ultimately what we wanted was for Nunes to respond to us, a comedy show, but say what you want about that guy, he's not that what I thought," Colbert added.

That's because over the weekend, Nunes called into Neil Cavuto's Fox Business show and called Colbert's jokes a "danger" to the country. "The left controls not only the universities in this country, but they also control Hollywood in this country, and the mainstream media, so conservatives in this country are under attack," Nunes said on Fox. "They attack people who are trying to get to the truth."
The talking shite to yourself phase is such a tedious one.

Is 'grasping at straws' a recognized phase in the Socoverse?
Let's not get too hung up on "inner Asia". The article simply says:
A gravitating midpoint between eastern Africa and southeastern Asia
would situate the born of L3 in inner Asia

It says a lot more than that. The evidence it cites does not support the idea that L3 originated in the Middle East. Therefore your claim that it supports the "credibility of an out of the Middle East theory" is false.

The important point is it is plausible that L3 went INTO Africa, not OUT of Africa.

Why is that important?
Inner Asia is not the Middle East.
That changes nothing.

Very simply, the paper cannot be used to support your "out of the Middle East" claims. Are you now going to propose that anatomically modern humans originated in inner Asia, or are you just going to ignore the fact that your source doesn't do anything to advance your pet idea?

The point is that L3 went INTO Africa, not OUT of Africa.

The paper doesn't claim that the evidence conclusively supports the hypothesis that L3 originated outside Africa. It merely offers the "inner Asia" hypothesis as a possible explanation for the evidence. It also is unequivocal in supporting the African origin of anatomically modern humans.

After three decades of mtDNA studies on human evolution the only incontrovertible main result is the African origin of all extant modern humans.
Politics and Current Events / Re: Trumpocalypse
"Chain migration" is "NOT ACCEPTABLE" except when Trump's family benefits from it.

"Questions surround how Melania Trump's parents received US green cards, as President rails against 'chain migration'" | The Independent

The parents of First Lady Melania Trump have been granted permanent status in the US, a lawyer for the couple has confirmed, although questions remain about how and when they received their green cards.

Donald Trump has railed against so-called chain migration since he launched his bid for the presidency in 2016.

Immigration experts have suggested it is the likeliest way Viktor and Amalija Knavs obtained their residencies.

"I can confirm that Mrs Trump's parents are both lawfully admitted to the United States as permanent residents," Michael Wildes, the First Lady's lawyer, told The Washington Post. "The family, as they are not part of the administration, has asked that their privacy be respected, so I will not comment further on this matter."

Under family-based immigration rules, adult American citizens can apply for parents, adult married children and siblings to gain residency in the US. In the Knavs' case, Melania would have been their sponsor.

[Continues . . .]
Some may think that genetic evidence rules out an Out of the Middle East theory but the following reference would seem to support the credibility of an out of the Middle East theory:
An Asia center of origin and dispersal for haplogroup L3 has also been hypothesized based on the fossil record, the similar coalescence dates of L3 and its Eurasian-distributed M and N derivative clades (~71 kya), the distant location in Southeast Asia of the oldest subclades of M and N, and the comparable age of the paternal haplogroup DE. After an initial Out-of-Africa migration of early anatomically modern humans around 125 kya, fully modern human L3-carrying females are thus proposed to have back-migrated from the maternal haplogroup's place of origin in Eurasia around 70 kya along with males bearing the paternal haplogroup E, which is also thought to have originated in Eurasia. These new Eurasian lineages are then suggested to have largely replaced the old autochthonous male and female African lineages.[4]
This refers to an "initial Out-of-Africa migration of early anatomically modern humans around 125 kya". But that is not supported. The key point is that L3 haplogroup could have originated in the Middle East.

Not at all. If you read the only paper used as a reference for that Wikipedia paragraph you'll discover that's not what they're suggesting.

In this work, we assess the possibility that L3 could have exited from Africa as a pre-L3 lineage that evolved as basic L3 in inner Asia. From there, it came back to Africa and forwarded to southeastern Asia to lead, respectively, the African L3 branches in eastern Africa and the M and N L3 Eurasian branches in southeastern Asia. This model, that implies an earlier exit of modern humans out of Africa, has been contrasted with the results gathered independently by other disciplines.

Inner Asia is not the Middle East.
Politics and Current Events / Re: Goddamnit Al

gosh, is there nothing the insidious slav can't do?

I think I detect sarcasm in your take. If so, it may be justified.

"Newsweek, Ijeoma Oluo, and the Overhyping of Twitter Bots in Al Franken's Resignation" | The Stranger

And as Oluo noted on Twitter, the anti-Franken tweets citing her work came after the senator announced his plans to step down, not before. On that day, the Associated Press tweeted at 10:58 a.m that Franken planned to resign. Oluo told me over the phone that her piece went live at 12:47 p.m. (There are no timestamps on The Establishment, the site where here piece was published.) With this timeline in mind, the idea that bots weaponizing Oluo's work had any effect on Franken's decision is preposterous.
I'm not aware of any objective observer who says that the money the US was holding didn't belong to Iran. Forbes, for instance, can hardly be described as a pro-Obama source, nor even as one that leans toward the Democratic party.

The major issue between the two governments was a $400 million payment for military equipment made by the government of the Shah of Iran, prior to the 1979 uprising that topped him. The U.S. banned delivery of the jets and other weapons amid the hostage crisis, but froze the $400 million advance payment. "The Pentagon handled arms purchases from foreign countries," says Gary Sick, a former National Security Council official who served as the principal White House aide for Iran during the Iranian Revolution and the hostage crisis. "Defense took care of the details. So the $400 million scheduled purchase was a government-to-government transaction. The U.S. government was holding the money. That's why it was so difficult to resolve."

[. . .]

[T]he U.S. negotiators convinced Iran to move the dispute from arbitration to a private settlement. The two sides reached an agreement in mid-2015, at the same time as the U.S. and Iran reached a comprehensive pact on curtailing Iran's development of nuclear weapons. The financial deal called for the U.S. to refund $1.7 billion to Tehran, consisting of the original $400 million contract for military equipment, plus $1.3 billion in interest.

[. . .]

A stronger argument is that the U.S. had to make a big payment to Iran because of a 35-year-old deal for weapons that were never received. It wasn't a matter of if, but when and how much. Washington was worried that the tribunal would impose a payment of several billion dollars, as Tehran demanded, and grabbed the opportunity to settle for the $1.7 billion as part of a overall pact at the same time Iran was benefiting from the nuclear agreement.

It's also reasonable to ask why Iran would release hostages in exchange for $400 million, when--according to the deal's defenders--it was bound to get at least that amount from the Hague anyway, and could keep the hostages to boot. Of course, it's impossible to verify if Tehran was truly convinced a bigger, though later, settlement was likely. Still, it's clear that the payout from the $400 million dispute was coming, and would happen with or without a release of hostages.


The left-wing conspiracy theory that the Trump campaign "colluded" with Russian officials ahead of the 2016 presidential campaign continued to crash and burn Friday, with Robert Mueller's indictment showing the foreign nationals began meddling in US politics one year before Donald Trump announced his run for office.

Almost exactly a year after the above tweet: "Woman Who Helped Organize Miss Universe in 2013 Announced Trump's Presidential Run in January, 2015"

Go ahead and put your high-speed mind to work on the possible implications.
Politics and Current Events / Re: Brownbeck Resigns
Given Brownback's association with the dominionist New Apostolic Reformation, it will be interesting to see how he sees fit to define and promote religious freedom.
rural oregon is a very strange place.

It shares its values with the rest of what some have called the "Empty Quarter," so not all that strange. Ignorantly jealous of its supposed independence and myopically freedom-loving, yes. I agree that an inhospitable attitude is not notably common, though there is some racism.
A few months ago the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit found that breastfeeding was a protected medical condition under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Of course that involved an employer-employee dispute which is what the Pregnancy Discrimination Act specifically addresses, but perhaps it could be argued that the decision set a precedent in regards to civil rights of breastfeeding mothers.
Nope. In this thread it's been established that on this topic I don't know what I'm talking about and Pavlovs Dog does. I'm fine with that, and if I wish to learn more I'll do my own research, per his suggestion.  :)
Thank you. I know I'm not owed any lessons on civil rights law from Pavlovs Dog, but at least I've learned that there's no point to me trying to dispute anything in this topic with him.
At least three state laws protecting the rights of breastfeeding mothers specifically refer to their right to breastfeed in a "place of public accommodation." However when I referred to that term, I was told by Pavlovs Dog that "'accommodation' refers to the ADA" as if it was irrelevant to this topic. If he's a lawyer he knows that the term is used in civil rights law, not just the ADA. Still, I may be mistaken and am willing to improve my understanding.
Wouldn't it be funny if PD turned out to be a lawyer who litigated these types of cases?

He could very well be. In which case he should have no trouble pointing out where I've erred.